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Online crime ad campaign

A government advertising campaign about online crime, Cyber Aware, has begun, by the UK Official National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ. Website and television advertising is advising on what the NCSC calls the six essential behaviours, to protect online accounts and devices. These are:

– Use a strong and separate password for your email
– Create strong passwords using three random words
– Save your passwords in your browser
– Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA)
– Update your devices and apps; and
– Back up your data

Lindy Cameron, Chief Executive of the NCSC said: “Technology will play an essential role over the festive period, with more people shopping online than ever before. Scammers stole millions from internet shoppers last Christmas – but by following our advice, you can protect yourself from the majority of their crimes.

“We hope the Cyber Aware campaign helps people to shop confidently online and enjoy their Christmas.”

The adverts, to run until Christmas Eve, mark the first time the NCSC has launched TV, radio and online advertising, and follows the Cyber Aware campaign launched at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in spring. Visit

Among the Centre’s work with others, Citizens Advice has integrated the Cyber Aware behaviours into its Scams Action service. This enables Citizens Advice to provide bespoke guidance on how protection of accounts and devices from an online scam. Likewise National Trading Standards will integrate the Cyber Aware behaviours into their nationwide Friends Against Scams work.

See also the NCSC’s recently updated online shopping guidance; and Citizens Advice’s recent reminder to consumers of their online shopping rights and how to make sure to stick to a budget; besides warning against counterfeits and scams. You can also use a ‘Scams Action’ reporting tool.


Gus Tomlinson, GM of Identity Fraud, Europe at the identity verification and counter-fraud software company GBG, said: “This year’s first ‘digital Christmas’ has opened up a whole new market for fraudsters. GBG’s recent State of Digital Identity 2020 report found that not only is identity fraud already affecting one in five consumers, the ‘trust gap’ it creates poses a risk to industries which will depend on digital trust if they are to thrive in 2021 and beyond. A third of consumers are more worried about fraud, as a result of COVID-19 – most prominently banking (36pc), followed by voting (11pc) and online shopping (10pc).

“As Brits keep one eye on their finances while rushing to get their festive shopping done early, the NCSC’s warning is an important reminder: for consumers to adjust to our digital-first new normal, and for businesses to truly prosper online, we must keep pushing on the technology and education required to make those online interactions fraud-free and frictionless.”

Jason Soroko, CTO of PKI at Sectigo, said: “The bottom line is that user-names and passwords are not a safe method for authentication. It is unfortunately common for consumers to reuse passwords for everything from social media to banking or tax accounts, and changing those habits has proven difficult or impossible. Multi-factor authentication as an opt-in method can be a way forward for non-password based authenticators.”


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